Renaissance Art

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Renaissance Art
During a time when all life in Europe was affected by the collapse of the Roman Empire and invasion of barbarian people, the Catholic Church managed to keep fine arts alive in the holiest of cities (Netzley). Before the time of the Renaissance, the Church focused their efforts on creating an unnatural essence that was Medieval art. This type of art appears abnormal to modern people, mostly because they had very little knowledge about human anatomy and mathematics (Brown). The figures in the paintings also appeared stiff, simply because they were painting ideals, which was a subject that they were unfamiliar with (Brown). The Renaissance Art Movement, led greatly by Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, lasted from the 13th century until the 17th century and spurred a cultural movement throughout Europe. Renaissance in Latin actually means “rebirth.” The idea of rebirthing ancient art lead to the Italian artists incorporating the style of the Greeks and the Romans into modern Italian art. The Greeks and the Romans had similar qualities in terms of art, which eventually became the inspiration of artists during the Renaissance. The Greeks are generally classified as being superior to the Romans in terms of art, because the Greeks focused on creating ideals whereas the Romans created natural forms (Montgomery). Modern Italians considered their heritage to be Roman, so they followed the ideas that had been previously used in ancient times. By the 13th century, an artist named Giotto began painting frescoes, (paintings on top of wet plaster) and created one of the first actual pictures of Christ and his followers (Guisepi). This type of art was previously unseen, and in some cases forbidden, during the Middle Ages. Giotto focused on painting the beauty and majesty of people, which differed from the work of the previous artists (Buchel).

At this time, art followed the classic evolution from itself, outward. Around the 1500’s, during the Renaissance, people began capturing landscapes. This type of painting showed that a new wave of artists were noticing the environment which surrounded them. With the Renaissance art movement, artists were beginning to explore philosophy and the universe. Starting with the low Renaissance, the artwork during this time was becoming more obscure, which meant that the human perspective was becoming less narrow (Brown).

The fresco work of Giotto inspired other artists of great talent to do work that was similar. In the early 14th century, the artists by the names of Brunelleschi, Masaccio, and the more famous Donatello were among the first Renaissance artists (Guisepi). After seeing what beauty could be created and how to correctly portray people, these three artists focused on modeling the work of the Romans and the Greeks (Gunnell). They began using columns, linear perspective, and descriptive painting to display the real image of people and the earth (Guisepi). Through the inspiration of Giotto and the work of more, newer artists, the low Renaissance period (followed by the high and late Renaissance) began in parts of Italy, and the idea quickly spread through the country. The inspiration behind recreating art was not necessarily because of the artists’ sudden interest in ancient Greek and Roman art. After hundreds of years of being controlled by the Church, experts believe that the true reasoning behind their attraction is that the artists wanted to “rebel” against the Church (Brown). They disliked the way that the Catholic Church wanted art to be presented and acts of rebellion became what we know today as the Renaissance Art Movement (Buchel).

The concept is believed to have begun in Florence, Italy in the 14th century and lasted until the 17th century, although many could argue that the idea is still fresh in people’s minds today (Guisepi). Proceeding the Dark and Middle ages, the citizens of Italy decided that they have had enough of the Catholic Church’s prejudice...
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